In this week’s blog, we continue our conversation with Mary Grace Otis, Host of The Global Mom Show! The Global Mom Show is a weekly podcast that connects moms around the world who want to live globally-minded lives and teach their kids to do the same. Below is Part II of our interview with Mary Grace where she discusses the importance of multicultural children’s books, and how parents can inspire an expanded worldview in their children early on.
Baby Ventures’ books seek to inspire young children to explore our diverse world. What role do you feel diversity-inspired children’s books play in raising globally-minded children?
In our home, books take center stage for all we do. I’m currently homeschooling my first-grader and preschooler, and read-a-louds are the core of our curriculum. In my opinion books are the gateway to the world. They can capture the imagination and teach lessons without being preachy. I know how much I’ve learned through stories, and I want my kids to have access to all types of stories too, so that they become engaged at an early age with the reality that everyone has multiple stories to share and all of them are worth hearing.
Diversity-inspired books play a critical role in developing the type of empathy and open-mindedness necessary for children to become globally-minded. In many cases books may be the only opportunity that children have to interact with another culture, so creating good diverse books—and many of them—is, I believe, a wonderfully important task.
As a global mom, what more would you like to see in books that present elements of diversity and multiculturalism to young children?
Well, first of all, I know there are so many more diverse and multicultural books out there than we’ve been able to read. It’s actually really exciting for me, because I look forward to learning with my kids about other cultures, people, and places. Although I love the books that delve into historical events and cultural events, I also would just love some fun books for my boys that happen to have diverse characters.
For example, my boys are currently into the Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary. Now if I could find a Henry Huggins with multicultural characters, that would be great. A lot of the multicultural books I find seem to deal with some difficult subjects, and while I think that is so important, I also just want my boys to have engaging stories that include characters that happen to be diverse. As a white mom raising kids who have an Asian-American heritage, I would also love to see more books with multicultural families of all types and combinations.
“I think one of the most ‘enriching realizations’ for me is…that everyone has a unique story that’s worth listening to and sharing.” – Mary Grace Otis
What are some of the most enriching realizations you have had during your podcast interviews?
One of things I love about talking with other global moms is that I get to go deep quickly and ask about the things that otherwise might take months or years to uncover through natural conversation. As I’ve done so, I’ve realized how important it is to be intentional in our own relationships with one another as moms.
This whole global journey is not just about or for our kids, but it overflows from our own lives. And if we want to be inspired to teach our kids to become globally-minded, we have to be connected ourselves. It has been absolutely enriching to my own life to enter in to conversations with women doing amazing things around the world in the areas of diversity, training, writing, blogging, homeschooling, and parenting. I think one of the most “enriching realizations” for me is just the continued realization that everyone has a unique story that’s worth listening to and sharing.
Subscribe to The Global Mom Show podcast to join the conversation and connect with moms around the world who share a global worldview.
Mary Grace Otis is the host of The Global Mom Show podcast, a wife, a mom of three boys, a former expat and development worker, and a freelance writer for nonprofits and businesses. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Grab a copy of her free PDF guide 10 Ways to Create a Global Home—No Matter Where You Live, or join her private Facebook Community, The Global Moms Network, to connect with like-minded mamas.